HC Deb 27 June 1950 vol 476 cc2094-5
47. Mr. Erroll

asked the Prime Minister if, when documents are placed in the Library by Government Departments for perusal by hon. Members, he will arrange for additional copies to be made available for the Press.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, not necessarily. If there is a clear demand in particular cases for documents which have been placed in the Library to be made available to the Press, Ministers will no doubt take that into account. The hon. Member, I have noticed, makes a frequent practice of asking Questions which, if they are to be answered, require the compilation of voluminous information collected from many Government Departments. I do not think, however, that he is entitled to assume that the Press will always have the same interest in information in this rather unwieldy form which he appears to have himself.

Mr. Erroll

Are we then to assume that such information may not be shown to the Press if they should be interested, in addition to hon. Members?

The Prime Minister

Not if they should want it, but I do not think that the general appetite is quite as great as that of the hon. Member for long lists of facts.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

Are we to assume that the Prime Minister's reply was a rebuke to my hon. Friend?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, it was a recognition of an appetite.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, at any rate, with regard to the question of petrol, in which my hon. Friend takes a great interest, it would require a volume to give the facts which the Government have hitherto concealed?

The Prime Minister

This has nothing to do with petrol.